Leading Teams Through Transformation: Dylan DeAnda’s Story

2.7.2020 | Louise Larsen

Dylan DeAnda is a Vice President of Tanium’s Enterprise Services Organization (ESO). A year ago, Dylan was asked to build and lead this new ESO team. This is his Tanium story.


In my job today, I provide purpose, motivation and direction for my leaders and my team on how we can support our customers best and help them achieve their outcomes successfully. I also put up a lot of scaffolding. Our ESO team is a new organization and it was just in March 2019, at our annual Tanium Kick Off, that we stood four people on stage and announced we were going to do this. Today the team has grown more than 10x since then. So you can just imagine how processes, automation, measurements, monitoring and hiring really have to move quickly when we’re growing that fast.

For me, it is important to stay grounded, especially in times of hyper-growth and transformation. I do that by meditating every morning and writing down my thoughts and goals and objectives. I like to get up at 4:00 AM every day. Ideally I shoot for 3:30 AM, but it’s hard. I hit snooze a couple of times, but 4:00 is my cliff. I use my time in the morning to sit down and listen to what has bubbled up from my subconscious mind, and I write it down. That really sets the sails for my day.

Leading from the front

One thing I’ve learned on this rocketship journey is that it’s better to make a good decision fast instead of making the best decision too late. You have to commit and go. Creating our ESO team is a really thought-provoking, challenging and rewarding journey. We can only really do this when we work together as one team and that includes all of our business partners. We have the full support and sharp minds from Sales, Finance, Recruiting, Marketing, Contracts, Legal and so many more that we have asked so much of. This job for me has really been about leadership and improvisation, but the bigger challenge to my profession is thinking about what we are going to look like in two, three and five years time, and then making decisions in that context.

I’ve found that two things have prepared me for this. One was being in the military and understanding combat leadership. We are often operating in conditions with little precedent, and we have to be able to make decisions quickly, with little time to go back and re-think or question things. You are on the ground and you see an opportunity or a threat and you have to act in accord with your training and the best information that you have at that time. My military experience has been a tremendous enabler for me here at Tanium, just like our core values. They apply to all of our decisions; in a way, it is like having a decision tree that says “is this going to help our customer”, “is this the right thing to do for our company” and “is this good for our team.” If the answer is yes to all of those, then we make a decision and go. If it’s a no, we will pivot really quickly and put those same values up against the next scenario.

The second thing that has helped me on this journey was a great leadership experience I had early in my career. Back in 2000, I worked for Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz’s small startup, and the leadership perspective I learned from Ben Horowitz was very inspiring. Most of the things I learned from him are catalogued in two of his books, one called ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’, and the other one is called ‘You Are What You Do’. Being able to learn from his leadership style and apply those same principles that I garnered from him has had a huge influence on me.

One piece of advice

This is what worked for me in my career, and I wanted to share that with you. In year one on the job, practice getting up at 4:00 AM every day. In year two, now that you’ve thrown yourself into everything, remember that which you say yes to is also you saying no to something else. Understand that a “yes” is a prioritization, and that you really have to make a choice and execute what it is you’re choosing to do now. In year three, when you say “yes”, then do it. Often people get really excited and all hopped up on the excitement, committing to everything, and then a project lays fallow and yours and someone else’s time could have been spent better. Commit and go.

No two days at Tanium are the same, but each day offers the opportunity to work alongside intelligent, driven colleagues who want to win as a team and deliver unparalleled solutions for our customers. Come join our team. Check our open positions at Tanium Careers.